Square DC's Launch Doubles as MO-8 Fundraiser (Updated)
BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, June 8 2010
DC schmancy spot Local 16 will play host to a, well, rather strange hybrid event this evening. The evening is one part political fundraiser and one part product launch. This is going into the ol' "trend story" file about how the tech world is infiltrating Washington.
"Tell Tommy & Jack I'll be there!," reads the RSVP for the event, taking place tonight from 5:30 to 7:30. "Tommy" is Tommy Sowers, a Democrat and Iraq War vet running to replace Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in Missouri's 8th congressional district. And "Jack" is Jack Dorsey, Twitter's founder whose new startup is a company called Square. Square is, more or less, a plastic widget that plugs into mobile phones and allows anyone to process credit cards without the need of a merchant account. The vision is to open up the possibility of mobile, person-to-person payments, something that has obvious potential for political campaigns and advocacy groups. Attendees to tonight's event will have a chance to both hang out with Sowers and check out Dorsey's gadget. (Added bonus: Howard Dean and Democratic strategist Paul Begala will also be on hand to "have a beer.")
Contributions ($25 or $50) to Sowers can be made at the door via Square. And folks can also pick up their own Square device; the RSVP form for the event asks attendees for their mobile phone operating system, either iPhone or Android.
Also going into the Silicon Valley-comes-to-Washington file: Twitter is in the market for its very first DC-based employee. Twitter's new government liaison will help the company "understand what [it] can do to better serve candidates and policymakers across party and geographical lines."
Update: On this being both Square's DC launch and a Democratic fundraiser, there's a sense among some on Twitter that it's "weird that this is partisan."